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"You have such an expensive hobby!"

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#1 MCovington

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:29 AM

How do you respond to people who say, "You have such an expensive hobby!  I could never afford that!"

That's when I show up at an event with equipment valued at maybe 1/10 the cost of my car, which is not an expensive car; and the equipment was built up over 5 years or more.

The person making the comment quite likely has a TV that cost as much as my telescope.

Any kind of boat or motorcycle would be a more expensive hobby than astronomy.  So would spending 2 weeks in Florida every summer.  Or just having a slightly more expensive car (barely distinguishable from what I actually have).

 

Are they admiring my (supposed) wealth?  Trying to avoid admitting that what I actually have is knowledge and skill?  Or what?


 


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#2 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:38 AM

I generally come back with something like... I don't drink, smoke, do recreational drugs, or go out and party.... drive a fancy car or live in the nicest house in the best neighborhood... don't wear fancy jewelry or fancy clothes... 

 

I do however, invest in a hobby that can lead to discovery and self improvement, promotes our environment, provides education to the public, and glorifies the magnificence of it all... not to mention it is fun!


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#3 Joe1950

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:44 AM

It's as expensive as we make it, or as inexpensive. The equipment can last a lifetime.

 

Some hobbies, such as golf, have a continuous expense that can add up to a lot of money in a relatively short time. Constant vacations are very expensive. 

 

Just say, once you have a telescope, looking at the sky is always free. shrug.gif


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#4 kfiscus

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:45 AM

It's expensive until you compare it to just about anything else. Just think of how much the membership costs...

Edited by kfiscus, 17 July 2017 - 08:46 AM.

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#5 MCovington

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:45 AM

Very good point about extravagance!  I calculated over the past 30 years, I've spent less on astronomy than on vending-machine snacks (and I'm not a glutton for vending-machine snacks).  The point is, over the time it lasts, astro equipment is a small part of daily pocket money.

 

I do have a couple of thoughts.

 

(1) People don't realize that our telescopes don't eat -- they don't consume supplies or maintenance -- and don't become obsolete in a couple of years.  (And we don't have to keep up a country club membership or the like.)

Yes, a $2000 expense seems big, until you realize that it is a one-time expense for 10 years or more.  I think one reason we all accumulate accessories, etc., is that we are actually prepared to spend more than the hobby actually costs.  

 

(2) The digital equipment and precision optics impress people.

 

We know, also, that there's a steady supply of people who think all decent optics are fantastically expensive and who try to re-sell 60-mm refractors on Craigslist for $500...  smile.gif


Edited by MCovington, 17 July 2017 - 08:47 AM.

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#6 Gipht

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

The real test is when your wife asks you how much you spend on astronomytongue2.gif .


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#7 epee

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

Ask them if they know anyone with a boat (about every other household around here).


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#8 MCovington

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:50 AM

The real test is when your wife asks you how much you spend on astronomytongue2.gif .

Much less than I spend taking her out to eat.


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#9 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:59 AM

I try to manage my family within our means. The only debt we have is one car payment and the house (which some don't really call debt). Even the house is a very reasonable mortgage compared to some.

 

I normally have to sell something in order to buy something for the telescope. We normally use tax refunds and bonuses (hopeful not guaranteed) for vacations and necessary home repairs. I do sometimes request of the CFO wife if I can make a small astronomy purchase annually with a portion of the tax refund or bonus if received and normally she is ok with that. Its not much though. Next year we probably wont be making an astronomy purchase.

 

Most of the folks we know who have told me I have an expensive hobby have credit card debt along with they buy or lease a new car every 3 years. They have a mortgage 4X ours etc. I guess its about perspective

 

I normally share the story with them that in order to buy my telescope I sold a Bach Stradivarius Professional Trumpet. My wife and I both played in college but haven't really played for a while. We both had a professional trumpet so we decided to sell one of them so that if one of us decided to pick it back up and play we would have an instrument

 

Jon


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#10 bobzeq25

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:00 AM

The real thing about that comment is that it misses the actual problem.  It's not the money, it's expensive in terms of time.  How many people with children feel at least some guilt about the amount of time they spend on this?

 

For me, that's not an issue.  Old retired guy, no children around.  I justify it by saying the mental effort is good for brain maintenance.

 

These people cause me no grief, the comment just rolls off my back.  Just esthetic. 

 

What causes me grief is the other side of the coin, beginners who have unrealistically low expectations about what it takes (in terms of both money and time) to get the pictures that attract them to the hobby.  I feel bad for them.


Edited by bobzeq25, 17 July 2017 - 09:27 AM.

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#11 PirateMike

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:01 AM

I just tell those people that I paid for everything by not buying a new car immediately after the old one was paid off. So now I have a new car and a telescope.  smile.gif


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#12 jdupton

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:02 AM

Michael,

 

   I get that question a lot at public star parties and outreach events. I usually try to put it into perspective of something the visitor might understand. 

 

   At these public events, I use my 20 year old Meade LX50 telescope. Whenever folks ask me how much that "fancy high-tech telescope" costs, I often reply along the lines of "roughly as much as a smart-phone and a year of cell/data service". Some young adult outreach visitors see a cell phone as a necessity of life but most get the comparison that if it is something you want, use, and enjoy, the cost can be quite bearable. It's not unusual for folks to pay $800+ for a cell phone and then another $100+ per month to use it (not counting App purchases and so forth).

 

   I think it is more the unfamiliarity with amateur astronomy and the appearance of our "high-tech, expensive" equipment that begs that sort of question. Let's face it, though, many hobbies are expensive depending on how involved you become. Other hobbies that come to mind as being in the same league are: fishing, hunting, boating, water sports, golf, motorcycling, and many others. You can dabble cheaply enough but if you really get into it, all are on equal footing with astronomy when it comes to draining your budget surplus...

 

 

John


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#13 PirateMike

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:03 AM

I sold a Bach Stradivarius Professional Trumpet.

Jon

I have a Selmer K-Modified.


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#14 n28336

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:04 AM

Try owning a small airplane. Yearly inspections where they rip the seats out and cover panels off and check everything and it has to be maintained/inspected by an FAA authorized shop, recurrent training, updated manuals/software/equipment.


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#15 Bob LaFleur

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:06 AM

How about "I find it relaxing and it is cheaper than therapy."


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#16 hollandj

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:07 AM

I tell them that I drive a reliable 2001 Ranger and I don't pay for cable/satellite TV.  I find those two things more than make up the difference for my hobby. When the wife asks how much I spend, I ask her how much is her 2015 Nissan costing us monthly?


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#17 E_Look

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:07 AM

Like a lot of things, amateur astronomy may cost a bit up front, but after you buy your scope, eyepieces, and maybe a few accessories, the outlays flatten to zero and you get to continue to use all that stuff... unless you start lusting after bigger aperture or hankering after "better and better" eyepieces.


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#18 PirateMike

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:14 AM

Any hobby will be expensive if you spend a lot of money on it. lol.gif


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#19 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:36 AM

 

I sold a Bach Stradivarius Professional Trumpet.

Jon

I have a Selmer K-Modified.

 

I always thought calling a trumpet after a violin was goofy, but it was a nice instrument. My wife's Stradivarius is a model 37. The one I sold was a model 43 which had a flatter bell, which allegedly allowed for easier upper register, but the model 37 was easier for intonation. I really could never tell much of a difference.

 

The person i sold it to was a band director for a high school where their 1st chair player had their Bach Stradivarius stolen from the band room on a weekend. He felt like it was under his watch and although the student's insurance was paying for it the band director drove from 8 hrs away to get the instrument from me

 

Jon


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#20 izar187

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:41 AM

When asked, I compare it to fishing.

It can be done very affordably, with modest gear that lasts for years, as already mentioned.

Or it can be a gear acquisition kind of hobby.

Where you may budget the costs, for continual upgrades, trading up, and traveling.

There's fishing with no boat, little boat(me), big boat, or bigger boat and the vehicle to haul it.

It's the same for our hobby of the night sky.

Being out under the night sky is very akin to being out next to or on the water.

Both restore and rejuvenate. 


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#21 PirateMike

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:44 AM

 

 

I sold a Bach Stradivarius Professional Trumpet.

Jon

I have a Selmer K-Modified.

 

I always thought calling a trumpet after a violin was goofy, but it was a nice instrument. My wife's Stradivarius is a model 37. The one I sold was a model 43 which had a flatter bell, which allegedly allowed for easier upper register, but the model 37 was easier for intonation. I really could never tell much of a difference.

 

The person i sold it to was a band director for a high school where their 1st chair player had their Bach Stradivarius stolen from the band room on a weekend. He felt like it was under his watch and although the student's insurance was paying for it the band director drove from 8 hrs away to get the instrument from me

 

Jon

 

My trumpet was my fathers. He was a professional player who stopped playing at 75y/o.

 

He gave it to me when I started high school way back in 1974 but before he did it was sent to France to be completely rebuilt and refinished. I don't know when it was made but I think I will research that.


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#22 jpbutler

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:45 AM

The real test is when your wife asks you how much you spend on astronomytongue2.gif .

Don't tell them the truth, they might all talk and then I am screwed.

All kidding aside, my wife knows how much I have spent.

 

John


Edited by jpbutler, 17 July 2017 - 09:50 AM.

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#23 NEOhio

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:55 AM

No one ever asks me the OP question. Maybe because I usually have the cheapest scope at any public event. I have had people show interest when they learn my dob or refractor sells at under $400 new. 


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#24 gene 4181

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:02 AM

  I can see the light  from a galaxy  that started coming to my eye   when the dinosaurs were still here walking around   ,  whats that worth too ya ?   That right there shuts  em up pretty quickly,lol  , you can see their craniums trying to  "grasp '  that ,lol          Or give em a ,   I can see the volcanos on Mars with this thing  !


Edited by gene 4181, 17 July 2017 - 10:05 AM.

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#25 Stargezzer

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:12 AM

As many posters have mentioned this hobby really isn't any more expensive than a lot of other hobbies. The problem is when you have several other hobbies something has to give. I have cut back on several of my other hobbies but I am quite content with that change. Astronomy fits my life style and physical condition at this point in my life and since I have been doing this since I was a kid I enjoy it even more now.

 

George 


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